Do you have a Disney bucket list? Perhaps you want to ride an attraction at one of the international parks. Maybe your froglet just can’t wait to be tall enough for Space Mountain. Do you dream of meeting a special character? Leap dreams of being a Jungle Cruise skipper for a day (That's limestone, but most people take it for granite.) Or maybe your dream is simply to don a 1st Visit button on your first visit to a Disney park.
Leap and I fulfilled a bucket list item a few months ago. We finally got to go inside the exclusive Disneyland Club 33.
A Look Inside Disneyland Club 33
Club 33 is a private club located above New Orleans Square in Disneyland. The only way to get in is to be a member or be an invited guest of a member. We have always wondered what is behind that mysterious door. How did we land a reservation? We know some ... flies ... who are members.
First, a little history. Walt Disney wanted a special place to entertain dignitaries in the park with a quiet and serene atmosphere. He needed superb cuisine and beautiful but distinctive décor. He, his wife and their decorator traveled to New Orleans to select antiques to furnish this special space. Named after its address on 33 Royal Street, Disneyland Club 33 offers an elegant escape from the park with both a lounge and formal dining room. Walt Disney never got the chance to dine at Club 33, but for 50 years, members and guests have enjoyed the results of Walt’s vision. Club 33 was renovated and expanded in 2014, bringing the grandeur Walt envisioned to life while adding the watercolor renderings of the original artist who helped him visualize it and handwritten notes from Walt regarding the décor.
Memberships are quite pricey and not easy to come by (the wait for a membership can take years), so we were literally hopping with excitement when a friend mentioned she had a membership and offered to make a reservation for us for a romantic birthday celebration lunch. While they do have a children’s menu, we opted to visit without the tadpoles. As the four-course lunch ran $90 per adult, it was a wise financial decision for us to leave the tadpoles with Grandma Frog.
You can’t just waltz into Disneyland Club 33. You need a reservation. We rang the bell and presented our name. They opened the door and greeted us in the lobby, checked our reservation, and then invited us to wait in the courtyard while we enjoyed hot spiced cider. Then we took an elevator ride to the second floor. There is a lounge that is reserved for members only or members who have guests with them. It oozes with Disney magic, and surreal blue and green lighting. There are cozy booths, magical paintings and instruments that move to the music. The original elevator is in there as well (as a seating option). We were lucky to get a brief tour of the lounge by a kindhearted Cast Member before dining in the actual elegant dining room, where guests do not have to be accompanied by the member who reserved their meal. Its windows and balconies overlook the Rivers of America and streets of New Orleans. It is light and bright, filled with paintings, sketches, chandeliers and antiques. It may be fancy but is also comfortable at the same time.
There is no alcohol served in Disneyland…except in Club 33, where they have a many delicious cocktails, beers and wines. So we—of course— had to take in the novelty of drinking adult beverages inside of Disneyland and helped ourselves to a Hurricane and a Mai Tai. Every bite of food was delicious. We enjoyed the best Wild Blue Crab Cake we have ever eaten, a Lafayette salad, Lobster Rockefeller, filet mignon with huckleberry braised beef short rib, and decadent dessert. The service was spectacular. As it was my birthday, there was a card on the table, signed by the staff, and as a special treat they sent me away with a special bag of tasty macarons, which I thoroughly enjoyed later while watching the fabulous World of Color—Seasons of Light show at Disney California Adventure (it was new for Holiday time 2016).
As we were leaving, we were showered with attention in the lobby by Donald Duck and Pluto. It was fun to have the characters all to ourselves for a few minutes. Donald begged for kisses (and my macarons) and Pluto wanted his nose scratched. Leap was beside himself after a visit to the nicest restrooms in the park. The men’s room had a high tank, pull chain toilet that was an actual Crapper. This made his day. The ladies room offered more modern toilets, but it did offer a nice chaise and dressing table as well.
Chances are that you are not going to get an opportunity to dine at Disneyland Club 33 —you know how to reach your favorite frog if you do get an invite— but if you are looking for fine dining, there are other high-end, table-service choices you CAN visit to get a special dining experience at the Disneyland Resort. For an in-park luxury dining experience, make a reservation through Disney Dining Reservations for Carthay Circle in California Adventure. It is rich in elegance and Disney theater history. Both Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel and Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian offer well-prepared food and a fine-dining atmosphere.
It was exciting to enter a unique part of the park that we had never laid eyes on and that was gilded with Disney history. Bucket list item fulfilled: Check. May you fulfill your Disney wishes, whatever they may be!
Have you dined inside the exclusive Disneyland Club 33? Is visiting this elegant restaurant on your Disney Bucket list? Let us know in the comments below. Have you dined inside the exclusive Disneyland Club 33? Is visiting this elegant restaurant on your Disney Bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.